Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Spring is coming

Thank goodness the very cold weather seems to have gone. The plants are producing many buds so production has picked up greatly.

Along with the warmer weather though come the bugs! Yep, there's a few moths creating havoc on the flowers, and we've had to start spraying again. We don't like using the chemicals and prefer using low grade stuff - but it just doesn't really work. Thank goodness we don't eat the flowers.

The spray we use dissipates after 24 hours - so there's nothing nasty left on the flowers.

That's good news - but at the moment it is wise to keep an eye on it. They have a nasty habit of getting out of control if one doesn't!!

Saturday, August 25, 2007

Buds everywhere

We've had rain for the past 6 days, heavy rain, but it didn't do any harm to the flowers as they are under cover. MM has had to spray for botrytis and moths, and there is sign of the former due to the high humidity.

But the buds!!! Everywhere! Today is the best pick that we have had for weeks and MM was able to phone all the florists to tell them that they would get their full orders on Monday. It's a while since we've been able to do that!

The rain will probably go away for a few days, though due back again later in the week. It is apparently the wettest winter for nearly 100 years! Our tanks are full, and the dam is nearly full so it is good.

I have predicted heavier than normal rains for summer this year. Perhaps back to the way it was when we first came here.

Saturday, August 18, 2007

Miss 5's roadside stall

Miss 5 (well, she'll be 5 in a couple of months) but she behaves like she's more than twice that age, had her roadside stall yesterday. It is something her mother and older sister have done from time to time on a Thursday.

They sell what we refer to as "seconds" because they have shorter stems, a few missing petals, or distorted centre. They look wonderful in a vase, but we don't sell them to the florists.

For weeks there have been so few flowers because of the cold that the florists have taken the "shorts" and there was really nothing for the roadside stall, so yesterday was the first day for several months that there was enough product.

Miss 5 is saving to go to Adelaide with me in a couple of months time. We encourage the children to pay about 75% of the fare - so she and her mother worked for an hour yesteday. They took $80 - not bad for such a short time!

Miss 5 knows she has to pay the farm for her flowers ($1 a bunch), and the rest goes to her savings. She's pretty stoked. The man who gave her $4 in 20c coins was a hit though. As there were so many coins she thinks that he gave her the most money!

Now, I have to save money to go to Adelaide - as I take the girls to see their great grandparents and it is Nan's 92nd birthday at the end of October. A great celebration.

Good time to go as it should be warm enough to swim in the sea at Brighton.

Thursday, August 16, 2007

The weather warms

Thankfully the weather is starting to warm up - so there's lots of buds coming. We have had an increase in production and the flowers are good quality - but the stems are quite short. The florists are happy to take them though - as there is a scarcity of all flowers at the moment.

Carnations grown locally have been destroyed by the cold weather, and the tropical flower growers - especially those who grow heliconias have all reported massive damage from the cold weather and consequently are having trouble supplying their florists too.

This week we were able to supply most of our florists - or should I say all of our florists, but not as many flowers as they would normally expect.

Fortunately it is getting better.

Sunday, August 05, 2007

Looking for Shopping Cart Software

Selecting shopping cart software is a bit scary. Now, you might think this is an odd place to talk about shopping cart software, but we are investigating doing something with a Gerbera theme, and looking at Shopping Cart facilities to sell product via a website. It is amazing the cost of putting these together, and it has been quite daunting, until we came across Ashop.

I came across this shopping cart software site, from another site I visit regularly, and took the time to have a close look. I like the friendly atmosphere at the website, and on top of that you can “take a test drive” to see how easy it is to work with and “you can have a free 10 day trial” . Sounds very good to me.

You have to have trust in the organisation that you contract to do your on line transactions, and I guess that is why most of us use our banks. There is often a great trust with the banks, but they also know how to charge. And the bank fees can be quite high. Ashop fees are most reasonable.

As well there is on-line live support, and a host of other information on the site which will certainly be helpful for us as we delve into “the unknown” as it will be for us. It is Award Winning Software, and is Search Engine Optimised – which is good to know.

There’s quite a lot to read on their website, and it is well worth looking at their videos too. They have a good reputation, and when we are ready we will certainly be starting with their
Free Trial. It looks pretty easy to use too - which is important to me. I'm sometimes technically challenged.

I couldn’t think of a better place to start with my online store. Pop along to Ashop and read all about it!

Saturday, August 04, 2007

Cold weather - has it gone?

Cold weather has resulted in a dramatic loss of gerbera flower production over the past few weeks. However, a few days ago the weather warmed up and we have had a few warmer days - Thursday it was 26 degrees, and yesterday 27 degrees, so the plants should perk up a little.

We will know this morning as we go in for another pick. We picked 220 flowers on Wednesday - up by 70% on the previous pick, so we are hopeful of supplying all the florists this coming week.

In a few days there should be signs of new bud growth, and more new leaves, and we will have to spend time removing the old leaves and making sure there is good light into the crown of the plant.

We are headed for spring, so things should really heat up weather wise, and production wise.